Eriese Tisdale: Grand jury to consider first-degree murder indictment

FORT PIERCE — The State Attorney's Office will be convening a grand jury on March 27 to consider indicting Eriese Tisdale for first-degree murder of a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop on Feb. 28, said Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl.

On Tuesday, Bakkedahl filed a second-degree murder charge against Tisdale, but that is only because prosecutors can't file a first-degree murder charge until a St. Lucie County grand jury reviews the case and issues an indictment, he said.

Because the grand jury hasn't met, "We have not officially made a decision whether to seek the death penalty," the attorney said.

He expects the grand jury proceedings will last one day.

Tisdale, 25, is being held without bail in the Martin County Jail for allegedly shooting at point-blank range St. Lucie County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Morales in a neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Fort Pierce.

Tisdale is being held in the Martin County Jail for security reasons, jail officials said. He is being kept away from other inmates, although he has had visitors, including his mother, girlfriend and court-appointed public defender, according to jail records.

According to newly filed court records, Tisdale said he has no income, a $100-a-month debt and $500 in a bank.

Tisdale has declined Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers' requests for interviews.

Morales was shot just as a backup deputy arrived and saw the gunfire at 9:28 a.m. on Feb. 28, according to the arrest affavadit.

Allegedly Tisdale — who has past drug and license arrests, but not for violence — then fled the scene. He was stopped after crashing his vehicle along nearby Oleander Avenue.

So far, the Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit has few details about what precededthe shooting.

And the State Attorney's Office, which now is handling the case, doesn't expect that additional information will be released until several weeks from now, Bakkedahl said.

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